Tag Archives: Confirmation Bias

Kerry Morrison: I’m Not a Social Scientist, but I Play One on the Imaginary Television in my Head. Also, HPOA’s Own Survey finds that Hollywood Homeless Drink Significantly Less than General US Population!

Cowgirl Kerry Morrison explains everything about everything to everyone and everybody.
Cowgirl Kerry Morrison explains everything about everything to everyone and everybody.
People often ask us what the hardest thing about writing this blog is. It’s not pestering unwilling politicos for documents the publication of which will, if such a thing were possible, shame them before the world. It’s not attending and filming the public meetings of the BIDs and watching angry white people spitting and hissing at the world they think has done them so very wrong. It’s not thinking of nasty things to say about them. Lord, it’s not even resisting the temptation to say all the very, very nasty things we think of when confronted with them.
A picture of some ostensibly homeless people's tents on Homewood Avenue between Ivar and Vine Street, used by Kerry Morrison to illustrate a recent blog post on homelessness in Hollywood.
A picture of some ostensibly homeless people’s tents on Homewood Avenue between Ivar and Vine Street, used by Kerry Morrison to illustrate a recent blog post on homelessness in Hollywood.

No, none of these. Right at this very moment, the hardest thing about writing this blog is stopping ourselves, all three of us, from running out onto the street, grabbing random people by the collar, and forcing them to read Kerry Morrison’s latest blog post on Hollywood homeless people, to subsequently acknowledge just how completely freaking batshit insane it is, and finally to join us in drinking ourselves rapidly into a stupor sufficiently deep to erase the last traces of this febrile outpouring of dangerous delusions from our long-suffering minds. We’re not doing any of that because we’re writing this essay instead, but we make neither promises nor representations concerning what we might do when we’re done with it.

Anyway, as usual, we’re going to mock this nonsense one piece at a time, with Kerry’s words in blue. The links are Kerry’s.

Full fathom five thy father lies; Of his bones are coral made; Those are pearls that were his eyes; Nothing of him that doth fade, But doth suffer a sea-change Into something rich and strange. Sea-nymphs hourly ring his knell: Ding-dong. Hark! now I hear them — Ding-dong, bell.
Full fathom five thy father lies;
Of his bones are coral made;
Those are pearls that were his eyes;
Nothing of him that doth fade,
But doth suffer a sea-change
Into something rich and strange.
Sea-nymphs hourly ring his knell:
Ding-dong.
Hark! now I hear them — Ding-dong, bell.

As we inch toward Labor Day, I realize that this summer will be characterized by the one issue that has dominated my attention: the increased evidence of homelessness in our city. Every day has involved phone calls with stakeholders, ad-hoc community meetings, or city and coalition task forces evaluating the factors at work and the solutions in play. So many people have suggested that we are in the midst of a new trend – a sea change of sorts – because what we are seeing does not resemble the face of homelessness five or ten years ago.

We’ll give her the first sentence. It’s even possible that it’s true that complaints about homeless people have dominated her attention. We’ll even give her the tacit condescension of a link to Wiktionary paired with the awkward little “of sorts” surrounding Ariel’s beautiful and much abused notion of a sea change. But pay close attention to her claim that what we are seeing does not resemble the face of homelessness five or ten years ago. Surely we’re going to see some evidence for this!
Continue reading Kerry Morrison: I’m Not a Social Scientist, but I Play One on the Imaginary Television in my Head. Also, HPOA’s Own Survey finds that Hollywood Homeless Drink Significantly Less than General US Population!

Sarah Besley, Urban Planning, Freeway Overpasses, Moral Panics, Confirmation Bias, Idées Fixes, and Sitcom Nazis in Hollywood

Pollyanna and her cynical, unhappy mirror self encouraging their own cognitive bias by gazing into reflections rather than the world around them
Pollyanna and her cynical mirror image encouraging their own cognitive biases by gazing only at reflections rather than seeing the actual world around them
Pollyanna, the most famous optimist in American literature, is known and celebrated as the originator and primary evangelist of “the just being glad game.” Listen, O citizens of Hollywood, as she explains it to Nancy:1

“Why, it’s a game. Father told it to me, and it’s lovely. We’ve played it always, ever since I was a little, little girl…the game was just to find something about everything to be glad about—no matter what ’twas.”2

Now, Pollyanna gets a bad rap these days, but she’s our hero, really. We haven’t the space to defend her, though, because we have to analyze a May 2014 blog post by Sarah Besley, evidently the Associate Executive Directrix of the Hollywood Property Owners Association and stuff.

Check it! Sarah Besley is scared of freeway overpasses:

In Los Feliz, even the goddamned overpasses are cute, cute, cute!
In Los Feliz, even the goddamned overpasses are cute, cute, cute!

[An overpass] may be one of the worst statements EVER to anyone who visits and certainly to anyone who lives in or around it – especially if their community has been severed in half. An overpass literally says: this community favors cars over people and I dare you to walk underneath me and emerge on the other side alive. This is the message I’ve been getting for the past couple years as I commute from Los Feliz, along Franklin Avenue, down Argyle…3

But wait! Maybe Los Felizites are scared of freeway overpasses because they don’t have any there?4 The terror of the unknown is formidable and possibly overwhelms slurbians when they come to the big town.5 Hollywoodies, living in raw urban splendor in the very heart of the city, surely just take them in stride, don’t they? The answer would appear to be yes, even on Sarah Besley’s testimony:

I’ve started noticing the unexpected number of pedestrians walking from the hills north of Franklin into downtown Hollywood with their yoga mats, shopping bags, or strollers in tow. I’m struck by the fact that people seem to walk so confidently underneath what seems to me like a very scary place.
Continue reading Sarah Besley, Urban Planning, Freeway Overpasses, Moral Panics, Confirmation Bias, Idées Fixes, and Sitcom Nazis in Hollywood